Macaroni and Peas--Identifying Commas and Periods

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SWBAT understand what a comma means and indicate its proper placement. Student Objective: I can identify and use commas and periods correctly in a sentence.

Big Idea

Using macaroni and split peas, students mark the commas and periods in a favorite knock-knock joke.


10 minutes

Although my students have already had some experience using commas and periods, I wanted to teach a lesson that would show some examples of different ways those punctuation marks are used.  Each day we do a "sight word chant" that is on a poster collection that I purchased.  This poster is rich with punctuation marks, so I will use that to have my students practice their punctuation identification.  In other situations, I think someone could write a morning message or class note with the same results as the poster.

Boys and girls, now that we have read our sight word chant, I want you to focus on another part of this poster.  Can anyone see something, other than words and pictures on this chart? (Accept any reasonable answers--looking for the answer, punctuation marks.)  Today we are going to learn some more about a particular punctuation mark called the comma.  Does anyone know the comma's job.  The comma is a signal to slow down, take a breath, before continuing forward.  If you remember what a comma looks like, can you "sky write" a comma for me? Great! I would like one of you to write a comma on the board for us all to see.  I like the way that is curved!

We are going to search for commas on our chart.  ______ will you come up and circle a comma? (Do this until all commas are circled.)

Since you are so good at identifying commas, we will hear a story about commas, called If You Were A Comma.


25 minutes

Let's listen to the story, and I read, I want you to be looking for the large red commas.  When you see one, give me a thumbs-up.  Here we go.


You were very good at finding commas.  Who can think of some ways commas were used? (Lists of words, address, date, etc.)

By providing my students with a more hands-on activity, I can help them learn this concept through multiple senses instead of just visually, and thus reach the children through the modality in which they learn best  .My students are at all different types of ability levels, so I have left the punctuation marks on the page.  It does not hurt for them to match the macaroni to the commas and the peas to the periods.  For students that need more of a challenge, I can "white-out" the punctuation and let them attempt to figure it out on their own.

Today we are going to celebrate our use of commas by using macaroni to symbolize the commas, and dried peas for periods.  Before we go further, who remembers something about periods?  (At the end of a sentence, in Mrs. Moran's name, to make the name of the month shorter.) 

I have typed up a paper that contains one of the silliest knock-knock jokes.  I will give you a copy, so that we can read together.  We will read once for the enjoyment of the joke, and then a second time to look for commas and periods. (Read the joke.)  Throughout this, page there will be all sorts of punctuation marks, but for today, we are only looking for a way to highlight the commas and periods. 

When you find a comma, you are going to glue a macaroni noodle in its place.  Make sure that when you glue your macaroni that it is looking like a backwards "C".  Anywhere on your paper where you find a period, I want you to glue a split pea on top of it. When this dries you will be able to see the things that you added and also feel them.  This will help you to remember what commas and periods are for.

Now you are ready to go to your seat to start searching for commas and periods. 


5 minutes

The best way for me to assess how the students are doing, is to walk around the room while they are working to see where their abilities are.  I will stop and ask a few questions and ask some children to read the joke to me.  I am taking note as to whether they are using the punctuation properly while they are reading.